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Sylla Women’s Organic Market Garden Project
This four-year project still has over a year to run. Already, however, all 7.5 hectares of the project land are being exploited (the remaining 1.5 hct are used for seed-beds and paths), all wind-breaks and fruit trees have been established, multiple crops of vegetables and livestock fodder have been grown, and a stand-by pump has been purchased by the Sylla community. By overlapping crops throughout the year, the growing season has been greatly extended, this helped by the fact that the soils, improved with compost, are able to hold water more efficiently. In fact, the whole 7.5 hectares can be watered by a single, small, two-cylinder water pump working on an 11day rotation. Cooperative members report family incomes up by £300 a year. Debts have been paid off. Monsieur Ba, project manager, has calculated that vegetable farming is between 15% and 60% more profitable using organic farming methods such as association planting, natural crop protection and use of compost, all of which reduced input costs. This is also helped by the fact that marketing is easier due to the extended growing season and the ability of produce grown organically to conserve longer. The 329 members of the Sylla Women’s Cooperative have worked extremely hard and overcome many problems to achieve this. News of the project has already spread far and wide but to make sure as many others as possible can benefit from a system that has the potential to make farming more profitable, a fifth project year is being planned to further diffuse project results.